Sunday, June 21, 2015

Why I Teach

My "Golden Rule Studio"

Why do I teach? I have been thinking about this a lot lately and have come to realize that teaching is an integral part of my creative process. Without sharing what I discover, it feels like something is missing. I created my artist "mission statement" years ago and I still believe it is true:

" I am on a journey, exploring the path of intuitive art, listening to the voice within to learn, create and share what I find." 

So here are a few reasons why I teach:
I love....
- the anticipation of sharing something I am excited about
- learning from my students
- happy accidents that provide opportunities for unplanned problem solving
- seeing students letting down their guard, offering help and encouragement to each other.
- seeing that "click" of recognition when someone "gets it."
- the collaborative energy a group creates.
- that 10 people can approach the same project and come up with 
10 wonderfully different results,
demonstrating that unique creative voice.

It is good to remember that making art is not just about "making." If it was just about mastery of certain skills, art would be easy. The intangible part of making art is being able to visually express who you are.  Learning about new tools and techniques in a class is not an end, but a beginning. It can open a door that will lead your closer to finding your unique creative voice. 

 I hope, as a teacher, I am able to encourage others in their journey of self discovery through play, curiosity and paying attention.....   

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Painting Make-OverI

I often use an old painting to get me re-energized to paint. Because it is a "make-over" I can feel free to experiment and try new colors and techniques.
Where I started...

I got lost in playing and did not take photos of the transition.
 I kept the figure and part of the creature.
At this point it is pretty dark.

Lightening it up, but my biggest critic (hubby) did not like the "peach."
I also changed the eyes to look to the side on the figure.
This small change really impacted the
painting. The two figures are now connecting.

I added some warmer colors - green and yellow glazes.
I also added arms on the girl and a shell with a pearl.
It was unclear who was in the foreground, so back to work.

Close up of added white to pull the figure forward. 

Details of the shell and pearl.

Close up of the creature....

I added more dark around the creature to push him back.

Arms were a bit skinny, so I fleshed them out and made them part of the dress.
Finished ?
I bet you have some pieces hanging around that could be re-worked. Let go and give it a try!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Bringing Inspiration Home

Summer is upon us and we will be travelling - maybe only in our own backyard, but there is plenty of inspiration. Vacations exotic or local, are an opportunity to be present and live intensely. See things with new eyes and collect the memories - they will show up in your art.
We recently returned from a trip to Hawaii. We stayed on Kauai, which is also know as the "Garden Island." Lots of inspiration to be had everywhere you looked, but I was taken by a place called Allerton Gardens. It is part of the National Tropical Botanical Gardens and was created as a private retreat. It is part garden, part art exhibit and entirely unique. It is a collection of garden "rooms," tropical plants and sculptures. Each room has a water feature or plant theme. I felt a bit like Alice walking through a door into wonderland. Here is some of my favorite photos of the garden.

Cocoa pods
Morton Bay Fig trees, used in the filming of Jurassic Park.

Now it is your turn....get outside, enjoy some early summer inspiration and share!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Process of Painting

I thought I would share a bit of my painting process. I never take enough photos, because I get involved in painting and all of a sudden a dramatic change occurs. Here is a look at a recent painting. It is on an 11x30" wooden panel.
Ink drawing on textured surface

Adding some definition - black and white

Neutralized the background - the flower was distracting!
Added more detail to the figure.
The flower and edge of the collage suggest "ears."

Ears appear and color is started.

This is where I got lost in the painting and stopped takeing pics.
 Added more color and ink drips to the background.


Close up of the face. 
Wishing you inspiration!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Preparing for a Show

Preparing for an outdoor show is not for the faint of heart. I have been "preparing" for Artwalk which takes place April 25-26 this year, since April of last year. First I committed to doing the show, filling out the forms, paying the booth fee and being accepted. Pressure was increased when I was selected as one of the Featured Artists for the show - extra publicity and extra stress to create the best art I can make. 
Once accepted to a show I go through my inventory of art to see what I have that is new, since I did the show last. I set the art up to get a visual of what it looks like as a group. Do I have enough large pieces? Is there a range of sizes and prices? Do they go together? This is where I start making lists of what needs to be done. The real work of preparing starts here.....I am ordering supplies, designing postcards, doing an inventory of bubble wrap, bags and receipts for sales, checking things off my lists. All this and I have not picked up a brush yet! I am officially a month away and am still painting, trying to "round out" what I am going to bring.

I have a booth hanging system that is essentially 7 standing wire racks that get dressed up with a black cover. The art has to be arranged on these panels in some sort of pleasing way.  Once I am done I will set up the booth on my patio, hang the paintings, take photos (so I remember where they go) take it all down and start wrapping each piece to protect it for packing in the van. 
I will be setting up the night before the show, so all I will need to bring the next day is my survival kit - hat, sunscreen, water, sketchbook, ipad, money and lots of snacks. Eating messy food when you are trying to talk about your art does not work!
Knowing I prepared well for a show really helps my confidence on opening day. The nerves are still there, but I know I can be proud of what I have brought to share.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Creative Renewal

I just returned from San Diego where I atteneded a party announcing me as one of the 10 Featured Artists for Artwalk 2015. It is a huge honor and it was a fun party!

My display

I had to ship my display art, so I decided to send my canvas panels and a smaller canvas piece. My canvas panels are made of unstretched canvas 24" x 48." I sew a pocket for a dowel on the top and the bottom for hanging. They are large, but can be rolled up and shipped easily.

I brought additional pictures to share.

Talking with guests. There was a local news crew filming the event (the bright light!)

After the event, we travelled to Los Angeles to have a mini vacation. I played with some of my photos in instagram and thought I would share....

Lunch at the LA Farmers Market. 

View looking up from the lobby of the Bonaventure Hotel. If it looks familiar, tons of movies have been filmed there.

Sunset view from our room.

We were within walking distance to the LA Downtown public library. This is a water feature at the entrance with the addition of rain! 

This trip was an inspiring and wonderful break. It reminded me that it is important to get away from the daily routines once in a while, in order to recharge your creative soul. I had been working in the studio writing for the last 2 months, not doing much art. With the manuscript finished, I am raring to get back to painting and seeing what will happen. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Book Progress

My studio for 5 days...
I have been pretty quiet for a few months as I am continuing to work on my book. I just retured from the photoshoot in Cincinnati, Ohio. I had no idea how involved writing a book would be. There are so many people that become a part of making it happen, from my editor Beth Erikson to the folks that will try to get Barnes and Noble to carry it and a ton of creative people in between. Everyone I met from F+W was so nice, professional and supportive, which made it all worth the stress.
Making art, knowing that you will only have 5 days to finish all the photos, is pretty stressful. Creativity on demand!
On the last day we filmed a short tutorial on one of my exercises. I was super nervous, but once I started teaching, I forgot about the camera. I think I did ok....we will see when I view the video!
My editor Beth and me before the video....

My photographer Christine behind the camera....

Here are some sneaky peeks at some of the artwork I made during my week stay....

Time to get back to work...I have text to write and can not wait to be painting again...